Wreaths are laid during Masterton’s dawn parade. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
We remember them
By STAFF REPORTERS
Many rose before dawn . . . the chilly temperatures failing to deter thousands of people wanting to remember those who sacrificed all for New Zealand in the line of duty.
Alongside the old soldiers were thousands of people, from babies to the elderly, who gathered at cenotaphs and memorials across Wairarapa on Wednesday.
In Masterton and Martinborough, thousands gathered for dawn services, while other services took place later in the day at Carterton, Featherston, Greytown, Lake Ferry, Tinui, Eketahuna, Kaiparoro and elsewhere around the region.
On a clear Masterton morning at 5.55am, the crowd at Queen Elizabeth Park parted as the parade marched towards the cenotaph.
Masterton Returned and Services Assocation president Trevor Thompson estimated at least 2500 people packed into the park and spilled out on to the street.
Officiating the service were the Rev Merv Jones and Archdeacon Hariata Tahana.
As part of the RSA’s philosophy of passing the remembrance of Anzac Day to the next generation, Rathkeale College student Mitchell Cockburn was the keynote speaker.
Wreaths were laid at the cenotaph by Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson, as well as many primary and secondary school students, and community groups, including Red Cross and St John.
The service also took time to acknowledge the passing of Wairarapa war veteran Haddon Donald who died on Monday night.
After the service, a parade of war veterans and ex-service personnel, including firemen and policemen, and other service organisations, made their way down Chapel St past the 300-odd white crosses in the Masterton town square.
A haka was performed by a team of Makoura College Services Academy students as the parade marched pass.
In Greytown, a flyover by two vintage planes started proceedings before wreaths were laid at the Memorial Baths.
A procession led by the RSA and armed forces members then walked to the Greytown Park Soldiers Memorial where students from Kuranui College and Greytown School carried white crosses bearing the names of those from the town who died in World War I.
The crosses were returned to the park after spending three years at the RSA in Greytown.
Hundreds then paraded down Main St, finishing at the South Wairarapa Workingmen’s Club.
People of all ages gathered in bright sunshine on High St in Carterton to watch the parade from the Carterton District Council buildings to Memorial Square for a wreath-laying ceremony.
The Masterton District Brass Band led the procession, followed by former racehorse Little Mister Chip, who was pulling the veterans’ carriage for the final time.
The only interruption to a smooth service came halfway through the playing of the Last Post, when the town’s fire siren went off and a group of firefighters had to rush off to respond.